Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) Funded Abuse of Nigerian Orphans

By | April 24, 2017

After reading this article I would urge you to sign the petition.  I have placed three links to the page in this article where you can do that.

Take action – sign the petition here.

When I think of Evangelicalism today suffice it to say that my head is not filled with pleasant thoughts. I could write a litany of detailed corruption amongst the celebrity leadership, and in fact I initially did so, but instead of rehashing the many negative stories I chose to delete a few hours of work, assuming that my readers will not contest the fact that American Evangelicalism is a ship that is badly listing.

I want to instead highlight Reformation Baptist Church, a small church in Youngsville, NC that has reassured me that there are still some local churches that are fighting the good fight. What this church has done in researching the corruption in Nigeria VOM is amazing and quite commendable.

I received the following email two days ago:

Hello Todd,
 
I am writing to you, because I am hoping you will be able to help us expose this evil situation that is going on in Nigeria. A group visiting there for ministry from our church was told of a very sad situation where the girls in an orphanage that Voice of the Martyrs runs in Nigeria (the Stephens Center) were being abused by their staff. 
 
The director: Isaac Newton, has habitually abused the girls, and then has taken them to have their babies aborted, and one of the girls has even had to have her womb removed.
 
Other than the sexual abuse that goes on, the children are not fed or provided for adequately – and VOM has advertised this Orphanage and raised money for it!
 
Isaac Newton is now trying to cover up and discredit us, so that he can continue in his wicked ways. He has threatened the girls he has abused not to speak up, and also his former employees who blew the whistle on him.
 
We’ve spent the last year fighting to get justice for these girls and to get VOM to stop the evil and make sure it never happens again. We have been in lengthy contact with members from them, sending all the board members the video well before we released it last week. We contacted Richard Wurmbrand, the founder’s son, (Editors note: they actually contacted Michael Wurmbrand, Richard’s son.) and he has told us that VOM is fully corrupt and will not deal with it.
 
So far he seems to be right, they have shown themselves to be more interested in covering up the scandal than doing the right thing. They told us they defunded him, but then gave him $100,000 worth of property and materials. So now we’re trying to shine the light of truth on this darkness. Would you help us by making this video more available to the public and asking people to sign the petition that we’ve created,  calling VOM to do an outside investigation, and be open about what went on there? 
 
 
We have put together a video and website   persecutingthepersecuted.com
Thank you very much,
 
Andrea Horn from Reformation Baptist Church 

Isaac Newton, VOM leader in Nigeria charged with raping many girls entrusted to his care.

Prior to getting into the important issues that the Reformation Baptist Church has raised, I believe it would be helpful to review the Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) organizaton.

“The Voice of the Martyrs was founded in 1967 by Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Lutheran/Anglican pastor, who had worked with the underground church in Romania after it was taken over by the USSR in 1944.  As a consequence, he was imprisoned for 14 years for preaching Christianity but was eventually freed to the west after a ransom was paid for his release.

In 1966, Wurmbrand testified before the Internal Security Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate about the treatment that Christians received under Communist governments, raising worldwide interest in Christian persecution, and through his influence several missions were founded around the world to help support Christians who suffered under Communist persecution. After the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe, these missions expanded their focus to include those suffering religious persecution in Islamic, Hindu, and Buddhist societies.

In April 2012 the executive director of VOM-USA, Walter Thomas “Tom” White, committed suicide after a Bartlesville police investigation opened with him as a suspect for child sexual abuse of a ten-year-old female. On March 14, 2014, the son of the founder and longstanding employee of the ministry, Michael Wurmbrand of Torrance, California, called for an independent commission to fully investigate the matter within the nonprofit over a period of years as Thomas R. Holland, the police chief was a board member as well as other financial related matters involving the construction of a $28M headquarters building and concerns over a vice president who was an embezzlement felon. All allegations relate only to VOM-USA and are unrelated to other VOM missions worldwide.”
-Wikipedia

Below is an excerpt from an article on Tom White’s suicide, found in Christianity Today.

AN OPEN LETTER CONCERNING “THE VOICE OF THE MARTYRS”

Dear Friend:

Those who read my website know that I am very fond of Pastor Richard Wurmbrand and his wife Sabina.  My wife and I knew them quite well.  They spoke in our church many times.  I can vouch for Pastor Wurmbrand’s absolute integrity.  But we have received disturbing news from Pastor Wurmbrand’s son Michael concerning “The Voice of the Martyrs,” located in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  I am advising our church not to send any more donations to “The Voice of the Martyrs” until they clear up the questions raised by Michael Wurmbrand.  Michael is a 75-year-old man.  He is very serious and he is concerned about his father’s and mother’s names being used to raise money that he says is not going to the persecuted peoples of the world, but is rather being misused by “The Voice of the Martyrs.”  Please click here to read Michael Wurmbrand’s accusation against “The Voice of the Martyrs.”  I wish I didn’t have to report this to you, but I feel compelled to as a friend of the late Pastor Richard Wurmbrand.  You can contact Michael Wurmbrand after 6:00 PM by phoning him at (310)544-0814. Or you can email him at wurmbrandm@yahoo.com.

Yours in Jesus’ Name,

Pastor R. L. Hymers, Jr.
D.Min., Th.D., Litt.D.
Philippians 4:13

 

“After I brought all of these facts to light, I was asked also to keep quiet, not to rock the boat. Before being laid off I was offered substantial contractual financial incentives not to “badmouth” VOM. Some of the organizations endorsing Voice of the Martyrs have interrelated employees and interests. When I approached them, they were shy and sore afraid for their own interests to insist my letter be answered. Some pathetic answers like: “Do not cast the first stone,” “king Solomon made mistakes ,” “we might also sin” or “promise to keep correspondence private only” displayed the hypocrisy to protect the flow of donations rather than any interest in protecting possible children victims! Some answers were outright sarcastic, as if my requesting a proper investigation regarding suspected pedophilia among “Christian missionaries” would be some joke.”
-Michael Wurmbrand, son of the founder of “The Voice of the Martyrs,” Richard Wurmbrand.

 

[gview file=”http://wurmbrandmichael.com/index.pdf” save=”0″]

 

The Reformation Baptist Church, through circumstances described in the video below, became aware of  gross mismanagement of funds in the Voice of Martyrs Nigeria. Most of the money came from Voice of Martyrs in America. In addition the church was also made aware of terrible abuse occuring at an orphanage in Abeokuta, Nigeria. This orphanage is called Stephen Centre and was run by Isaac Newton,  head man of VOM in Nigeria.

 

I would urge you to watch the video below.  It is about 45 minutes in length. The Reformation Baptist Church did an outstanding job of researching and producing this;  it will definitely awaken a righteous anger in you.  Once you have watched it you will want to sign the petition. I suggest you will also want to cease contributing to VOM.  As Michael Wurmbrand stated, they are fully corrupt.

 

Take action – sign the petition here.

 

Below is a short, four minute excerpt from the video.

 

 

 

 

Take action – sign the petition here.

 

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Ann Gooch

Karen and Amir, Because I am one who likes to research the organizations I support, a year ago I began this process of looking into VOM ministries. A woman in our congregation had been quite zealous in her recommendation of VOM to our congregation. She attended a VOM conference and was deeply affected by the commitment to assist the persecuted church. As a result, she approached our pastor and it was eventually decided to get hand-outs (their magazines and prayer cards) and place them in the vestibule. Later he decided to promote VOM by showing the film on Richard Wurmbrandt’s life entitled after his book “Tortured for the Faith.” We held a showing this past Spring, but we had to commit to paying VOM $9.00 per person. It was then that I began to feel squirmy inside. I had kept my concerns to myself. I was deeply troubled by the facts I read concerning Tom White’s suicide and the circumstances that were believed to have prompted his death. The more I read, the more troubled I became. I had so many questions. And yet, I had this conclusion — this is beyond me to ever be enabled to really know the truth. I realize that I have become somewhat hardened by all the things I’ve read on the internet, things I’ve thought were true, but then come to find out were misinterpretations or reports that I got caught up in and eventually realized were a complete distrction, taking me down rabbit trails that I simply never should have known about. I guess I must have checked some box to be kept updated when new posts were made in this thread. And now? Now I’m faced again with the question — what should I do? It bothered me that a ministry was requiring a $9.00 per person “donation” for viewing this film. Why? Because it said to me that they had come up with another way to get funding rather than simply trust the Lord to provide for their ministry. If the gospel was freely given and we are to freely give — what did this all have to do with how the Spirit of God leads His people? Was it not more in line with the spirit of this world? Our congregation ended up paying half of each person’s ticket, so those who came who felt they could not afford it, we “gave” to these individuals. Yet, in reality, we gave to VOM because they required this for the privilege of hearing the story by film format. I kept having the pictures in my mind of their older facility vs. their new $28 million dollar facility. I kept wondering…..wondering…..wondering….. Did the $28 millions come from the donations given to promote ministering to the persecuted church? Did Christians give funds that never got to those they THOUGHT were benefitting from their giving? Did VOM ever once print in their monthly magazines their plans for their new building? Did they ask for donations towards this “NEED” that were separate from the donations given to go to the persecuted church? The bottom-line question I still have concerns the stewardship of financial donations. If this was amiss and has never been answered faithfully, why? My wonderings have led to what could indeed be a godly discernment – possibly. So, I venture to share my thoughts fully. Please note each “IF” that prefaces each thought below: IF indeed the love of money above transparency and full-out-there honesty over their financial dealings — if VOM failed to get funds for the new building in a manner God could bless — IF any greed was behind the $160 K salary paid to Tom White — If those who made decisions for VOM indeed were deceptive – Were we not then possibly seeing the fruit of God’s removal of His blessing and protection? The love of money is the root of all evil. The door to what happened in Tom White’s life, in the Nigerian orphanage — must not there have been AN OPEN door of rebellion to truth, of snuffing out conviction, of turning aside from the way that IS RIGHT in GOD’S SIGHT? If indeed there was a mishandling of God’s funds, then I believe the devil was successful in his attacks against those who profess to know and love God, but whose works denied God. I believe what occurred then was the compromising of conviction and turning instead to a way that APPEARS to be right. For if these motives were being hidden from others but known by God? Then the end of Tom White’s life was destruction. His physical life was destroyed by the devil using his own hands. If anyone else knew something was amiss when Tom White was at the leadership of VOM and failed to hold him countable? Did not all of this give place to the destroyer? And what is the end of all that was reported of the Nigerian orphanage? What has transpired there? These questions are what I need to have answers for – for once again, I am in a dither. Once again our congregation is to have a VOM representative visit to share about this ministry. And I have been afraid to present these things to our pastor, for fear of being marked as a critic. I wanted to put these current struggles before you, Karen and Amir, for your reflection and comment, should you care to help me. I have been wondering if anyone else in our congregation has heard what I’ve heard. If so, I wonder if they have responded the same way I’ve responded. “I’d better not say anything about my concerns to anyone. For how can we ever really know the truth? And surely, VOM is getting help to the persecuted church, surely God is still using VOM, is he not?” I would rather be given the opportunity to judge myself and repent now of all evil than to suffer the righteous… Read more »

Karen

Your timeline of events is very skewed. Michael was not an employee of VOM in the way you are implying, nor in the way his rambling diatribes would have you believe.

It is interesting to note that none of his long rambling letters was ever mailed out until a year after the situation occurred. I was there at the office with him. He never said a word. To anyone. (not as if I was in a position of authority, btw, but even so, you hear things.)

Michael is a sweet man who has endured much. His parents decided to leave someone else in charge at VOM and that should speak volumes. It isn’t saying he’s corrupt. It is saying that running such an organization is not in his skill set. But he has yet to come to grips with the simple fact that he’s not in charge.

Why wouldn’t VOM do everything they could possibly do to refute,abolish and destroy any and all accusations of any type if improprieties of any kind by what ever means at their disposal? The investigation needs to be done. Whether anyone ever believes the report or not they will be able to stand before God with clean hands. If there is nothing there then there is nothing but if there is by God they better deal with it and do so swiftly. Let’s remember God does not sleep nor does he slumber and all things that are hidden if any will be revealed. We must fervently pray for all those involved.

I wonder if the investigation of the Stephens Center might be a job for the International Justice Mission. They were instrumental in bringing down human trafficking rings in Cambodia.

Karen Linton

Amir,

I clearly posted that I’ve no idea re the veracity of the accusations about Nigeria, and I can certainly state that no one at VOM-USA is deliberately funding sexual abuse of children.

I also know that saying, He/She would never do that! means nothing re child abuse. As a former victim of child sexual assault, I do have some firsthand knowledge of what goes on and how it happens without others knowing about it.

I’m just amazed (in a bad way) how folks are so quick to jump on a bandwagon and say, this entire organization is bad, all have bad motives, etc with no personal knowledge.

On the other hand, I also know that no matter how spiritual anyone may appear, we all have clay feet. But we usually fail to remember that when we can point the finger at someone else and, in the doing, make ourselves look better. I’ve been guilty plenty of times myself.

Anyway, I didn’t actually originally post here to argue with anyone. I worked there for a number of years as both a volunteer and as paid staff and it remains one of only two ministries our family supports other than our local church. The people being accused are my friends and family. Since I was working there through part of this time, I was also accused. I’ve been there with folks weeping over persecuted Christians, praying for persecuted Christians, trying to find new ways to help them, to get Bibles and aid to them. I am still very passionate about this, thus it is a very personal attack.

I saw responses to this post turn into attacks on Franklin Graham and on GFA. Really?!? Every other Christian organization in the world except this little group is corrupt or not a true Christian?!? And folks wonder why I’d get vehement?

How about this, I know that most folks are settled now. They have made up their minds that VOM is using funds for the persecuted church to support child sexual assault. Because of, at best, a misguided internet post. No answer from VOM will satisfy. No proof will work. They’re accused, judged and found wanting. Because if it’s on the internet, it must be true, right?

Unfortunately, this cannot be walked back. Even with a retraction. Even if VOM supplies every smidgeon of proof you’re requesting, folks will still believe the lie.

That is why I’m upset. The damage done to a ministry whose heart and soul is poured into helping Christians that have no voice is incalculable. In America we don’t need persecution from the government. We have other Christians to handle that job.

In my last long post, I mistakenly said “Christians caught philandering in the US, Europe, Nigeria or any other region have actually boasted of those acts.”. I meant to type “Christians caught philandering in the US, Europe, Nigeria or any other region do NOT or hardly ever actually boast of those acts.”

I’m deeply troubled and perplexed by the charges in this video. I’m a professor in a university upstate NY and a long term donor to VOM causes. I teach on trauma, recovery, healing and reconciliation. After the Boko Haram crisis broke out, I’ve visited this orphanage three times without notice, met and played with the children, chatted with the girls and young men, helped ship dozens of cartons of children’s books, toys and materials (funded by my church in upstate NY) for the library at this home. There I met 3 of the young girls rescued from the Chibok crisis and taken 6 graduate students along to meet and act as big sisters to the children. I’ve been in their dormitories and met the kitchen staff. Our fellow church in Maryland has also been there several times and helped build the new kitchen (as they were cooking outdoors up to 2016). I correspond personally via email and phone messages with several of the young people in Stephen’s home- they tell me about their progress through high school and now some of them have gone through college because of the Director’s impassioned push for them to be successful. He raises support for them and they might be the only orphanage in Nigeria with several students in college and heading to do a Masters degree. I am presently helping arrange a college trip to my university for some of these graduates of Stephen’s home. When I visited in 2016, I was amused and laughing as some of the young men regaled me with tales of local and foreign donors who get upset because they look well taken care off, of a governor who sent goods to them and after the photo-op, the driver loaded the food back in the van and drove off. I have 3 children of my own here in the USA – 2 in college and one post college, and I scan the children’s faces carefully when I go, listen to their tales and laughter and have private meetings with the girls, to see how they are recovering from trauma. More than my reputation is at stake, their lives depend on how seriously the church cares. So yes, I would be shaken if indeed these charges were true. I look forward to a thorough investigation – but of both the accuser and the accused. I am deeply troubled by two things at least: First, it is problematic that Dan Horn and his son have NEVER visited this orphanage in Abeokuta and thus base their video and charges on conversations with a couple of individuals accused of corruption by the board and in a state far away from the orphanage. I know for the fact and from experience that the orphanage is completely open to visitors. I rarely even inform them before visiting and thousands of people have simply turned up at their doors and are taken around, they get to meet and speak to the children, and even go to their classes or dormitories. Are Africans deserving of a lesser measure of justice than Americans? To accuse someone of these crimes without even having taken the basic step of visiting and meeting the students is abhorrent and ungodly. There should have been due diligence by the Horns- who enjoy the American liberty and protections of laws that ensure we are considered innocent until proven guilty. As a servant of God, I intend to do due diligence and thoroughly investigate the allegations, but I will do that in the right way. I have met the children and staff and will be working with a broad representative team. To the Horns, I have to say, I cannot believe that men of goodwill will launch such a campaign against an orphanage without even taking the basic step of going to the location. What were you thinking of? Secondly: while I cannot speak to some of the charges by the folks in your video until I have had a chance to look more closely at the documentation on both sides, I can say that at least one of your respondents in the video told a blatant lie. The female figure who claimed the director Isaac Wusu said some girls had been living with him for many years and were now his wives and cooking for him was clearly delusional or a liar. Unlike you, the hundreds of Christians from overseas who have actually visited the center have met Mrs. Wusu- she is a lovely Christian lady, they live together in their very monogamous apartment with their cute little boys. When I visited with the grad students, she hosted our entire group to a lovely lunch – absolutely monogamous apartment with no girls or other wives. Indeed, her only hope was that someday they would have more hands and folks helping to reduce the burden. They welcomed and hoped to have genuine relief workers join the work. It is laughable, absurd and tragic to imagine that the Christian community in Nigeria is so bereft of the knowledge of Christian doctrine that a leader and reverend (Isaac Wusu is such) would actually calmly and publicly state that he has married the orphaned girls and has them cooking for him. This is the point where the Horns lost credibility in my eyes completely. All you had to do, sirs, was to take the trouble of a local flight, go to his home and the orphanage and check out the truth of what you had been told. He would be swiftly excommunicated from any of the churches. That you could believe that a Christian leader said this in Nigeria is evidence of the shamefully debased, imperialistic and patronizing attitude of American Christians who think they have the last word in doctrine. Christians caught philandering in the US, Europe, Nigeria or any other region have actually boasted of those acts. Please listen to the sermons of any of the Nigerian churches supporting the VOM ministry and Stephen’s home… Read more »

The VOM organization is a half century old this year.
The founders and many workers in foreign missions have themselves been persecuted and put at extreme
risk over many of the past 50 years. Individual VOM organizations are autonomous and represented in 67 countries. It is a mistake to take the ills and possible mismanagement of a couple of them and use this to destroy all the righteous work that many others have accomplished in Jesus name. The founding Wurmbrand family and all the VOM missionaries should not be scandalized by the sin of a few people.
Yes, the sin and flaws of individuals if confirmed by actual facts, should be exposed and delt with in a corrective action. The victims should also be assisted and protected by any means available. It is deeply disturbing to see any corruption in any organization that exists to represent the ministry of Christ. What is worse is the improper reaction from the Christian community. The thousands of indigenous pastors and persecuted churches that rely on the ongoing efforts of VOM must also be considered. We must be wise about such matters and look at the bigger picture. To throw all VOM ministries throughout the world into the category of corruption could produce an even greater impact for evil then the initial sins committed by only a few. I know first hand of very recent progress missionaries affiliated with VOM have made with refugees in hot zones. These dedicated servants of God do not deserve the attacks from the misguided and the misinformed. Instead, the Christian community especially in the “free” world should obtain specifics and attempt to apply specifically to the individual source of the corruption. The comments I’ve seen on this site seem have leaned toward destruction and condemnation with an all or nothing manner toward the VOM ministry. The entire ministry should not be painted the same color as those who have been corrupted. We need to pray that the innocent are exonerated and the guilty are disciplined in order to see true healing and reconciliation. If my comments offend any of you, I have offered them with experience and reason. I must also state (since there may be some thinking I work for VOM), I am not affiliated with them. I have simply seen the good this oganization has done for many years. Even if you don’t agree with me, can I at least ask you to pray for those faithful servants that are not part of any corruption. Would you join me for Jesus sake to lift up in prayer all the good efforts made by VOM. Lastly would you consider a closer look at this issue as you pray. God’s peace be with you all.

Christine

This is not factual information and shoddy reporting. Once again in the name of “good Christians” satan is doing his work to cloud the minds of believers so they will stop funding those organizations who do Christ’s mission. Here is VOM’s official statement on this video. Perhaps contacting them and getting some facts would have helped this to not escalate to this level. http://www.persecution.com/public/newsroom.aspx?story_ID=%3d383533

JYJames

Excellent work on this post. Important information.

Debra

I am shocked and horrified by this. Our family has supported VOM for years. We have gone to the headquarters when it was in the old building and cried throughout the whole tour to hear the stories of our persecuted brothers and sisters. We have shown video clips and brought materials when my husband has been a guest preacher at churches. When the news came out about Tom White I was sick for days, thinking about what he might have been doing on all those trips overseas for 20 years while everyone thought he was working for the Lord. Now Michael is speaking out, with suspicions it seems that the sexual abuse of children is widespread among VOM employees. There are no words. Employees of VOM USA fervently raising money to work in luxury conditions and to glut themselves with their demonic and lustful pursuit of perversion, while our brothers and sisters so desperately need money to live? It is unbelievable, I cannot wrap my mind around it all, and yet I believe every word. And Christians in America sacrifice to send money to VOM thinking they are a part of the Lord’s work. One of my dreams for years has been to work with VOM and speak on their behalf as does Darcie Gill. When my husband retired from the USAF and then graduated from seminary we sent a letter to VOM to see if we could serve in Bartlesville as short-term missionaries, which we had dreamed of since our tour 15 years before. The only “jobs” available at the time were in the mail room, and we decided not to. My husband applied for a job there as well. I was heartbroken when we didn’t go and he didn’t get the job. Now today I am thanking the Lord for watching out for us to keep us from participating any more than we have in such demonic activity. I cannot fathom any organization treating the founder’s son who has worked so selflessly and whole-heartedly in the despicable way they have. And yet I believe it is so. I know this is incredibly long, but I am just one of the many many thousands of nameless faceless donors and supporters of VOM who feel incredibly betrayed by an organization who we have given so much to in our small donor way. We would never have been lauded for our large contributions and taken on the private tours, wined and dined and courted if we ever toured the opulent new headquarters. But we are the ones, again nameless among many many thousands who have faithfully given month after month, year after year. VOM is under the control of Satan. Jesus Christ has been betrayed. The Wurmbrand family has been betrayed. Countless children I am absolutely sure have been abused and betrayed. And so have we, the little donors. Do I say May God have mercy on their souls? No. I do not.

Lydia

I must assume the Nigerian authorities won’t investigate? This is a horror!